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Blair County sees growing number of neighborhood watch groups

Each month, several area neighborhood watch groups meet throughout the county to discuss concerns about safety, crime and drug activity within their own community.
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Blair Seniors Services, Inc. will host a countywide neighborhood watch meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the dining area of the Blair Senior Service Center, located at 1320 12th Avenue, Altoona.
The reason for the countywide meeting is so individuals can discuss common concerns and promote cooperation among various neighborhood watch groups.
The featured speaker for this event will be Blair County District Attorney, Richard Consiglio.
He will discuss his views on local crime and drug activities. There will also be time to discuss individual questions and concerns.
“This is an opportunity for citizens to ask tough questions and learn what is really going on in their community,” said Maureen Adams, Assistant Director of National Senior Service Corps Programs for Blair Senior Services, Inc., in a recent press release.
Also, Mitch Cooper, Deputy Chief of Police from the Altoona Police Department will be on hand.
All Blair County residents are welcome to attend. Individuals need not be a part of a current watch group to participate.
For additional information, call Maureen Adams at 946-1235.
In the Tipton area a neighborhood watch group has formed thanks to concerned citizens. Cate Crider attended the last Antis Township meeting on behalf of the group, requesting 12 neighborhood watch signs to be placed throughout the Tipton area.
She said the group has been meeting with over 60 residents attending. She shared the format of the meeting, explaining Officer Jeff Petucci attends to share important information with the group. A website is planned and an 800 number has been set up for individuals to call.
There is also a box set up for tips to be placed. This is to prevent the need to call long distance for matters that may not need immediate attention.
Supervisor Charles Taylor asked if the tips go directly to the state police.
“Yes, an officer picks them up every few days,” said Crider.
She said residents are not taught to do anything to put themselves in harms way, but they are asked to keep watch for suspicious activities and report anything out of the ordinary to the authorities.
The group already had ideas about where they wanted to place the neighborhood watch signs, saying they chose areas where high numbers of residents were participating in the meetings.
“I was at their meeting and I think it’s a great idea,” said Supervisor Ken Hostler.
The Board of Supervisors agreed to purchase the signs and posts for $300, to be placed by the township at various locations throughout the community.